Jordan E. Cooper’s Ain’t No Mo,‘ produced by Lee Daniels, is set for its final performance, but folks from Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to RuPaul are rallying around to have production stick around.
Daniels announced the final performance for Dec. 18 at the Belasco Theatre. However, Cooper, who is the youngest African-American playwright in Broadway’s history, has written an open letter to launch the #saveAINTNOMO campaign in order to keep the show running and raise ticket sales.
In his letter posted to Twitter, Jordan wrote in part, “Now they’ve posted an eviction notice, we ‘must close’ December 18th. But thank God Black people are immune to eviction notices. The Wiz got one Opening Night in 1974, but audiences turned that around and it ended up running for four years.”
“This show is THRILLING audiences night after night and has been acclaimed by critics, but it hasn’t had time to reflect in our ticket sales,” Jordan continued. “People are coming, loving the show and calling it the best theatrical experience of their life, but traditional Broadway marketing doesn’t work for this kind of show. We’re doing something new on Broadway but is Broadway ready? I believe great things happen in this world when the world ain’t ready.”
Joining Belasco in the campaign is co-producer Lena Waithe, who is hosting the “After the Flight” Talkback Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. Fellow co-producer RuPaul will host a special performance in honor of the production Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. ET, and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have bought out a performance of Ain’t No Mo’ this week in support. Tyler Perry has also bought out a showing.
Called “The New Best Play of the Year” by The Wrap, Ain’t No Mo’ poses the question of what could happen if the U.S. government decided to end racism by sending African-Americans back to Africa. According to the official description:
Having premiered to overwhelming acclaim at The Public Theater, Ain’t No Mo’ dares to ask the incendiary question, “What if the U.S. government attempted to solve racism … by offering Black Americans one-way plane tickets to Africa?” The answer comes in the form of an outrageous and high-octane comedy about being Black in today’s America. From the mischievous mind of Jordan E. Cooper (“The Ms. Pat Show”), Ain’t No Mo’ seamlessly blends sketch comedy, satire and avant garde theater to leave audiences crying with laughter—and thinking through the tears.
The cast stars Cooper, Fedna Jacquet, Marchánt Davis, Ebony Marshall-Oliver and Crystal Lucas-Perry. Understudies include Nik Alexander, Jasminn Johnson, Michael Rishawn, Kedren Spencer, Brennie Tellu and Emma Van Lare.
Along with Waithe and RuPaul, the co-producing team for Ain’t No Mo’ includes BET, Dwayne Wade under 59th & Prairie Entertainment, Gabrielle Union under I’ll Have Another Productions, Len Blavatnik, Ron Burkle, Aryeh B. Bourkoff, Tucker Tooley Entertainment, Ann Cox, Gina Purlia, Bob Yari, Marvin Peart, Colleen Camp, Marvet Britto, Jeremy Green, Sue Wagner, John Johnson, Jillian Robbins, Jeremy O. Harris and CJ Uzomah and The Public Theater. Wagner Johnson Productions are the show’s executive producers and general management.
The production’s design team include three-time Tony Award winner Scott Pask, two-time Tony Award nominee Emilio Sosa, Adam Honoré, Jonathan Deans, Taylor Williams and Mia M. Neal.